The patients were wheeled into a room where they waited and waited. No teacher arrived.  Someone said, “I guess we have to cancel; we don’t have a preacher.” 

Did you ever question God’s timing? My friend, Margie, recently passed out and was rushed by ambulance to the hospital. After a week in the hospital, she was transported to a rehab facility.  When she was finally released, Margie shared with me her best moment in her recovery.


At the nursing home/rehab facility there was supposed to be an afternoon Bible Study.  The patients were wheeled into a room where they waited and waited some more. No teacher arrived.  Finally, someone said, “I guess we have to cancel; we don’t have a preacher.”  Prompted by the Holy Spirit, Margie piped up and said, “I can do it.” She proceeded to not only share how she came to Christ (which had been during the Advent season many years ago) but also shared with them the real message of hope in Jesus Christ. Many of her fellow patients were living the holidays warehoused and forgotten.


God maneuvered the dynamics in that meeting room so Margie could tell them about eternal hope possible through Jesus Christ. Margie’s gameplan for December had not been to have her life disrupted by the hospital stay and then the rehab facility, but God had other plans and they were good.


I have not always appreciated the fact that God “takes actions in the present with the aim of yielding desired results in the future”. That’s what it means when people reference God “playing the long game”. God played the long game with Margie. God’s brilliant half-time show was to get Margie in to share with the patients in the rehab unit.


Matthew 21-18 introduces us to a mass murderer, King Herod. He was responsible for the deaths of his wife, 3 sons, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, and uncle. The emperor Augustus popularized the saying, “Better to be Herod’s pig than his son.” The birth of the promised Messiah threatened everything that Herod ever loved = himself.  The arrival of the Magi must have seemed to him a stroke of luck – Herod would be able to discover the location of this new threat to his power and eliminate the competition. He didn’t realize He was battling the God who plays the long game.


God’s hands are all over the Advent story.  He guided “foreigners to Christ to worship him. God exerted global—probably even universal—influence and power to get it done. Matthew records God moving the stars in the sky to get foreign magi to Bethlehem so that they could worship the Christ. This is God’s design. His aim is that the nations—all the nations (Matthew 24:14)—worship his Son.” (From Good News of Great Joy) That was and is God’s long game. God has always had good plans, regardless of Herod’s execution of the infants in Matthew 2. God worked, even in the presence of evil.


Margie’s stay at the rehab facility isn’t anything she has ever longed for.  However, God gave her the privilege of inviting forgotten people to know the Savior. While Satan plays a short game of destruction, God plays the long game of redemption. That’s Who God is, even when we can’t see it. God has good plans. It’s your choice in who you place or do not place your trust.


He never reads instructions or watches videos. God just speaks and it is.

It was the pandemic. A lot of us were going stir-crazy. I looked around my living room and was bothered by a rather rough piece of furniture I viewed daily. There was no money to replace it so I thought “Why not refinish it?” I watched YouTube videos and read instructions on how to do the work. I redesigned it in my head.  Then I began the physical work: sanding, stripping it down, taking it apart, painting, and then adding the hardware and coats of sealant.  Never once during this time did I ever go to my back porch (that was my work area), sit there and expect a new piece of furniture to instantly appear.  I needed the materials, the ideas, the sweat equity and the hard work to put the piece together.


The Holy Spirit’s approach to creation is totally different than mine. He has the ideas, the sweat equity and the hard work, but He is so powerful that He speaks the words and it happens. By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath [Spirit] of His mouth. (Psalm 33:6) God has never had to go to GR Mitchell for His materials. He never reads instructions or watches videos. God just speaks and it is. His words are limitless in their power: He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses. (Psalm 33:7) I have never presumed that I could gather up all the oceans in a heap. I am powerless. Often, I have found plenty of furniture projects tedious and frustrating. The Holy Spirit has a different view of work. He doesn’t get burnt out in what He wonderfully creates.  He makes no mistakes, never fumbles, and whatever He does is awesome.  We are the ones that pour the refuse and junk on His creations.


When our earth’s physical clock began ticking at creation, The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2) “Hovering” is the idea of a bird sitting in a nest, sitting and brooding over her eggs, caring for these new little lives. He cares. He cares eternally. Even then, He loved us, even though He knew He was creating a world that would choose to go sideways.


If you want to know God better, I especially recommend you read John 38-42. Previous to this, there is one observation of Job regarding God that is spot on: His (God’s) breath made the skies bright and clear.    His hand wounded the serpent that glides through the sea. Those are only on the edges of what He does.    They are only the soft whispers that we hear from Him.    So, who can understand how very powerful He is? (Job 26:13-14 NIRV)


God, The Holy Spirit, is hovering over your life.  He cares, even when your life goes sideways.  I have found it futile when I spend a lot of time reimagining my own life, stripping it down, taking it apart, painting with a big smile, and sealing it all under my own power. I can make all the resolutions I want, try my hardest, but I am creating further brokenness.  The only One Who can create truly new life in me is the Holy Spirit. He is hovering over me. Are you letting Him hover over you?